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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Visit the carle


Picture Books We Love

Book Finder: Cumulative Tales

Book Recommendation Request For: 2 ½ year old boy. Description: Outgoing, loves William Steig’s poetry and drawings Interests: Playing music, memorizing poems, building things with construction toys. Favorite Books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Alpha Beta Chowder by William and Jeanne Steig, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak Building and Building: Cumulative Tale Picture Books Can I just say that this kid has exceptional taste in books?  I can tell by these favorite books that simple line drawings, minimal color, and slightly outrageous stories are what does it for this little guy. Memorizing poems and playing music can actually be quite similar to building with toys.  When memorizing a poem, you start with one line, and keep adding and adding lines until you know the whole thing.  When building with blocks, you start with one block and keep adding on until you’ve built an entire structure. For a child with these interests, my guess is that cumulative tales will be a big hit.  Books like The House that Jack Built or the Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly start with one line and keep adding and adding to this line to create a story.  The repetition of these lines is part of the fun, drawing on memory and musical rhythm skills.  Some of my favorites are when the lines keep building and building, until CRASH! The surprise twist. napping house_web In one of my favorites, The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood, all the family members one by one fall asleep on the bed with delightful rhythm.  But what happens when one wakes up? judge_web For fans of William Steig and Judith Viorst, The Judge by Harve and Margot Zemach features a similar illustration style of line drawings and subdued color with equally imaginative story. bear hunt_web cat goes fiddle_web All these books make great read-alouds, but We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee by Paul Galdone are filled with fun noises and animal sounds that will keep giggling.  (They also both happen to use the funny phrase "Swishy Swashy" which I never noticed until now.) one fine day_web drummer hoff_web One Fine Day by Nonny Hogrogian and Drummer Hoff by Ed Emberley will really test your memorization skills and twist your tongues as the story and characters build and build. So to recap: In this post I recommend The Napping House. In this post I recommend The Napping House and The Judge.  In this post I recommend the Napping House, The Judge and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. In this post I recommend…well, you get the idea. What are your favorite cumulative tales?

by Eliza Brown

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2010 at 9:58 am and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Sunday, March 3, 2010 - 10:53 pm
We've been loving another Paul Galdone book - the Gingerbread Boy.

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